(This was originally posted on the blog-
on 3/13/10. Here is a link to the original post:
The collected power in the golden orb hit the gigantic beast killing it instantly. It began to plummet to the ground through the trees as The Kind One stood transfixed, seemingly unable to move, and in danger of being crushed.
She was pulled out from under the falling monster at the last moment by a girl with fiery-red hair. Shocked and confused by the encounter with the ghostly faerie , the Kind One demanded an explanation. Undaunted by the harsh words from one who’s life she had just saved, the new comer introduced herself as Ember Innocenzi.
Satisfied that Ember was indeed another human, The Kind One invited her new friend to sit with her and wait for dawn before continuing on the path through the forest, explaining that there were other, more dangerous creatures lurking in the dark.
The Kind One dozed off. When she opened her eyes she found that they were hanging by their feet in the tops of the trees. The Dryads had pulled them to safety and were sheltering them from the hordes of Shahinian below.
Dawn cut through the upper branches of the forest canopy in streaks of hazy sunlight, pooling on the ground in bright splashes of yellow where the beams hit the damp, mossy ground. Funny how the menacing shadows of the forest at night dissolve in the sparkling light of day. Ember had only been gone for a few minutes and I missed her already. Still, the sadness I felt about her departure on the elegant dragon Illustratia, paled by comparison to the joy I felt having Arial with me again.
“Arial, where were you? I knew as soon as the woods had closed in around me that I had made a terrible mistake. I thought hard, hoping that you would find me and come to me, but for some reason it didn’t work. Why?” Arial had chosen to walk with me in her elven form and looked down on me as she answered.
“An energy field fell between us when your friend entered the realm. It disrupted our telepathy and we couldn’t see you in our minds or hear your thoughts. However we were picking up some very unusual vibrations through the walls of the palace. It sounded like when you sit at your writing machine to make words. Click, clicktyclick, clickty, clickty, clickclickclick, click…like that. The sound was hollow and far off. Orlaith has not been able to intuit what it was. Then it just… stopped…it was all very strange.”
I nodded as I remembered what Ember had told me about being from another realm. “The two different realms must have collided causing a riff in reality. Arial, there was a ghostly faerie in a mist that seemed to have a life all its own, with tendrils that wrapped around everything. I thought she was sent from you, that’s what she had me believe anyway.” I shivered as the spectral being took shape in my memory. “She said that if I came with her she would get me safely out of the woods.” I clamped my eyes closed, trying to shut out the cold emptiness of the dark eyes that reached into my very soul.
I was immediately surrounded by Sunny, Ferne, and about a dozen other faeries, their eyes full of sympathy and their wings flapping with anxiety. Arial placed two fingers on the temples at both sides of my head and whispered, “shi eir vaeli.” The words, “be at peace” and the feeling came to me at precisely the same moment and the shivering subsided. The visions of the beast evaporated from my mind. “Thanks. I wish I could do that thing you do…what ever it is.”
Arial smiled. “You can, you just don’t know how yet. No worries though, you will learn.” Her smile faded. What you saw was a shape-shifter, one of the Shahinian. There are many tribes but they all have the same need, to feel alive by stealing the souls of others. When it became clear that we couldn’t penetrate the forest canopy we sent the Trilia in to find you.”
“What is the Trilia?” Or should I say who.”
She turned to me, a thoughtful look on her face. Taping her long thin fingers together she explained. “The Trilia are sub race of the air-elementals, they would appear to you as small glowing dots. It would look like a mass of fireflies. If they touch you they can look into your heart, sense your intentions.”
“Arial! That’s exactly what happened! I saw these lights coming toward me, they swarmed all around me, my arm and shoulders. I remember, it made me warm and it tickled, and I knew that they were good.” I saw the scene play out again in my mind. “Oh, but Arial, they can do things…” I was there again, seeing the bright ball of fire blast into the creature’s leathery chest, hearing it’s angry screams… falling. I looked up. Arial was bending over me with Sunny and Ferne on either side.
They were all smiling. Not exactly what I would suspect after relating my life threatening adventure. Arial helped me stand up and I brushed the twigs off of my tattered skirt. “Fine, smile if you have to, but I was scared.” Then I thought about the Dryads. “Did you send the Dryads as well?”
Ferne was hanging, mid-air, just behind Arial. She was all smiles. “In a way. We still could not find you, we had no idea the Trilia had accomplished their mission. It wasn’t until this strange little fellow with owl eyes found Ferne that we knew you were OK and that you had company. Orlaith figured out the rest. She had Ferne talk to the Dryads, you know how Ferne loves the trees! They spread the word through the forest and picked you up just before the Shahinian got to you.” Ferne whispered in Arial’s ear. ” She tells me his name is Perhluna. He is a hyper little guy but seriously devoted to his human. It was Ferne that led him to the shadeberries.”
“Yes, these berries are only found growing by the Castle of Umbra, two valleys past the elven-wood. Elendain keeps some in her herbal stash, but he needed to pick some fresh so that your thought transference would be strong.”
“Well, all I can say is, thank goodness for Perh. Hey, is the effect of eating those berries permanent?”
Arial tilted her head and gave me a searching look. “Try to hear my thoughts. Calm your mind, focus. Do you hear anything?”
“Give me a minute! Good grief Arial, a little patience, all I can hear is you asking questions.” I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and concentrated. At first all I heard was the wind in the branches, then slowly I began to hear voices, a lot of voices, they were whispering to each other, praising the sunshine. Then I heard Arial’s voice. “Those are the Dryads you hear Kind One. To the Mundane ear it is just the wind in the trees, but to those with faerie blood, it is the voices of the spirit leaves.”
“I can hear you Arial! I can hear you!” I grabbed her by the shoulders and spun her around. “This is great! I twirled around and around and the faeries joined in the dance.
Arial stood to one side and watched with delight, knowing that soon enough I would have to return to the ivy hedge and more serious matters that waited on the other side.